Hello my lovelies, Suze here. Today’s post is a Monster Mash(up) of fun stuff. I’ve got a squillion things to do, but I’ve got a few thoughts for you.
First, I’m off to Punkin’ Chunkin’ in Delaware. Click here for more information–and seriously, if you can get yourself to Delaware and you love pumpkins and machines that can make them fly, do it. What’s not to love about a festival whose mission is to support various charities, and whose motto is “We’re Gonna Hurl” ? If you go, let me know and maybe we can meet up over a cup of pumpkin chili.
Second, How ’bout them Sox? I didn’t get to see the final game of the World Series last night since Sister Scribe Katy Lee and I were at the Citizen’s Police Academy last night. I grew up in Yankees country but now live in the Red Sox Nation so I, ahem, swing both ways when it comes to my baseball loyalty. But seriously, folks. After the horrible tragedies in and near Boston over the past few months, no city deserves a World Series win more. Let’s all put on a beard and sing Sweet Caroline!
And third, of course today’s Halloween. How will you be celebrating this most funnest of holidays? At our house we rarely get trick-or-treaters, but I buy candy just in case. The teenaged Crown Prince of Hardydom is officially too old for the mobile costume candy extortion plot, so we will have significantly less goodies in the house this year. I guess that’s okay–I only bought candy we like. My candy of choice is anything with peanut butter and chocolate–Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Payday, Nutrageous–or dark chocolate like Dove or Lindt.
What’s going on in your world? What’s your favorite crazy festival? Who’s your favorite baseball team? Would you wear the beard? And what’s your favorite candy? So many questions…
Here’s my favorite Halloween song for your listening pleasure (click here). Have a great day, friends!
Thea Devine here, waiting on the storm, and feeling that an unbridled hurricane can be every bit as scary as a supernatural Hallowe’en scenario. For one, it comes out of nowhere with its own unearthly sounds. You’re at the mercy of its driving winds, and the full force of its destructive and uncontainable nature. You’re powerless and yet you try to defeat it every time. And when you survive it, you feel as if you’ve gone through some mystical transformation. You feel superhuman. You feel you’ve cheated death.
Maybe that’s why Hallowe’en — and ghosts, ghouls, vampires and zombies — has such a powerful hold on the imagination. Life beyond death, no matter form it takes, is beyond seductive, and perhaps worth the price you might have to pay.
It’s fun to fictionally play with the idea of life beyond eternity. But that’s underscored by the certain knowledge mortality is just around the corner for all of us. That’s why we write about the monsters, the ghosts, the storms. Leaving something tangible behind is a way to conquer the beast. Wading into the storm gives you strength. Manipulating fears with words makes you feel superhuman again. Overcoming the threat gives you the sense that you can surmount anything.
Hallowe’en always reminds me of the times I watched the classic horror movies with a friend who lived several floors above our apartment. She would have to go up two or three flights of steps in a dimly lit stairwell after we watched that week’s movie. Now, remembering those nights, I wonder what would have happened if she’d just disappeared. In the stairwell. That was barely lit. Her footsteps echoing and then suddenly, not. With no witnesses. And no clues. And she was never found. Ever …
Are you a ghosts and ghouls Hallowe’en person? Or a princess and fantasy Hallowe’en person? Your favorite old horror movie? (Me, The Mummy — love 1920’s Egypt ) Any Hallowe’en moment in your life that you could make into fiction?
Thea Devine has been delving into the world of vampires with The Darkest Heart, and its sequel, Beyond the Night (April 2013 Pocket Star eBook). There are no vampires in her just reissued erotic contemporary novel, His Little Black Book, available now.
PJ here. To top off our spooky week on All Soul’s day, I’d like to welcome our fabulous final guest, Fran Friel. Take it away Fran!
Inspiration and a Hubby Chat
As proof that inspiration can be found anywhere, I submit the hubby chat. The other night, my hubby and I were talking about the TV show, Vampire Diaries.For the most part, he ignores it when it’s on, but in a moment of unguarded interest (I know he’s actually watching from the corner of his eye), he asked me about the werewolves in the show.“Are they suppose to be stronger than the vampires?”I wasn’t sure, in fact I suspect it depends on what the script writer’s plot needs are for any given episode.As if on cue, our cat yawned, and that girl has some serious fangs.
This lead us to a discussion about Vamp Cats (and yes, we have the oddest conversations), then on to even more fanciful speculation concerning the efficacy of Vamp Turtles or a Vamp Cows.Nah, I thought, too slow, too cumbersome.
What’s the point of all this, you ask? Well, when the Seven Scribes honored me with the opportunity to write their Halloween blog, I was looking for inspiration.What could be more inspiring than Hellcow?And what does Hellcow have to teach us about writing?The art of reinvention.
So I’m setting a Halloween challenge for you to exercise your writing muscles by using an old theme and reinventing it in your own unique way (in any genre). Here are a few suggestions to start you off:
Choose a common topic, but be sure it’s one that has a spark for you
In the spirit of the day, Halloween themes like ghosts, witches, zombies, etc. are great. And with the winter holidays soon upon us, you could rewrite the Thanksgiving story or Santa’s tale.Or how about pirates, cowboys and aliens?Childhood characters like the tooth fairy, or the boogie man are in serious need of some new digs.Basically, anything that gives you that little zing of inspiration is game.Even common everyday items can be fun.I once wrote a story about homicidal dust bunnies, and another about demonic spuds!And yes, they were both published.
Turn Left Instead of Right
Writing teacher, Terri Brown-Davidson, gave me a suggestion I’ve never forgotten., “When you want to go right, try turning left and see what happens.” As writers, we can get into a rut of comfort or predictability, so as an exercise in the process of reinvention, do the opposite of what you might feel safe doing.Give your story and your characters some unpredictability by challenging yourself to go where you might not normally tread.A little discomfort for a writer can create exciting results.
You’ve heard the saying, “Dance as if no one is watching.” Well, do the same with your writing (at least your first draft)–write as if no one but you will read what you’ve written.Be fearless, and write to entertain, intrigue, or scare yourself.Not worrying about what anyone else will think is very freeing.If it turns out to be brilliant, then you can always share later.But for now, this work is for your eyes only!
Just like Frankenstein returning to life or a vampire being reborn as the undead, the exercise of reinventing old themes can really get the creative juices flowing. If you seek to be brave and step beyond your comfort zone, turning left instead of right down the old worn path, you may find that reinvention extends beyond the story and into your broader writing life.Staying fresh and challenging yourself to expand your reach as a writer is important to the longevity of your career (and your sanity).Give it a try and let me know how it goes.Remember, someone actually wrote a story about a Hellcow and got published.You too can reinvent the impossible!
Happy Halloween, have a wonderful All Souls Day, and Happy Writing!
Fran Friel is a two-time Bram Stoker Award Finalist, winner of the Black Quill Award and former editor at Dark Recesses Press.Her short story collection, Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales, and her novella, Beach of Dreams, are available at Amazon and Apex Book Company.Look for her novella, Grid Walker, in the upcoming anthology, Barbers and Beauties, from editor Michael Knost.You can find Fran at Facebook, Twitter, Fran Friel’s Yada Feast.
Thanks for being here, Fran. Love the cat fangs! Anyone want to jump in and tell us what creative re-inventions you’re working on?